Inside Trump’s Club When the Indictment Call Came

Former President Donald J. Trump was gathering with his core political advisers in his office near the poolside cottage at his club in Bedminster, NJ, when his phone rang at about 7 p.m. Thursday. On the line, according to two people familiar with the call, one of his lawyers, announced that he had been indicted for the second time in less than three months.

Unlike the first indictment – in a state court in Manhattan involving allegations he paid to silence a porn star during the 2016 election – Current fees are federaland stemming from his behavior shortly before leaving office and for approximately 18 months thereafter.

Mr. Trump, always aloof, immediately turned to political reaction.

At 7:21 p.m., he did what he used to do as president: He personally programmed the chyrons on every news channel in the country. He published his own indictment – drafted and then submitted a three-part statement on his social media network, Truth Social, soon disrupted nighttime shows on Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN.

The former president posted a critique of the Biden administration, but lurking in his attacks on Democrats are pertinent details: not only has he been indicted, but he has also been subpoenaed. practice to appear in Miami court on Tuesday afternoon.

A studio van was brought to Bedminster so one of his lawyers could get on television. Another Trump attorney, James Trusty, soon took to CNN to describe some of the allegations and recount his client’s reaction.

“He thought about it,” Mr. Trusty said. “He said: ‘This is just a sad day. I can’t believe I’ve been prosecuted.’” Mr. Trusty continued: “Those are my – me summaries of what he said. But at the same time, he immediately recognized the historical nature of this. This is crossing the Rubicon.”

For days, Mr. Trump’s team searched for information about his indictment, after three of his lawyers meeting with Justice Department officials in Monday. According to people close to Mr. Trump, they walked into that meeting when told there was potential for impeachment and nothing was said to change that position. But while they suspect an impending indictment, they act on rumours, gossip and news reports rather than on verified facts.

As speculation grew ahead of the Justice Department’s announcement of the indictment, Mr Trump’s team pre-recorded a video showing the former president reacting to the expected charges in a live speech. in front of the camera — and in front of what appears to be a version of an indictment. painting of President Theodore Roosevelt and Kaiser Wilhelm II, leader of Germany during World War I.

Half an hour after the announcement of the indictment, he post video on its social media site. In it, he lashed out at Democrats, seeing the indictment as evidence of “a nation in decline” and calling himself “an innocent man”.

Mr. Trump’s team urged Republicans close to him to start making statements, and soon his allies obliged: Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee House of Representatives, wrote on Twitter: “A sad day for America. God bless President Trump.”

Speaker Kevin McCarthy went further, calling it a “dark day” and vowing, “Republicans in the House will be held accountable for this blatant weaponization of power.”

Mr. Trump’s besieging in Bedminster by his political circles and media, rather than by most of his lawyers, reflects both uncertainty about when the charges may have occurred and how he Trump is constantly approaching his legal challenges.

His political advisers have been preparing for weeks to exploit the federal indictment to full effect. His team has made federal law enforcement actions against him a core part of its fundraising strategy. Online fundraising – long a lifeline of Mr Trump’s politics as senior Republican donors have largely shunned him – has dried up for all candidates. Republicans over the past few years, including Mr. Trump.

GOP donors have been exhausted by the hysterical calls to repeatedly give money to Mr. Trump to stop Democrats from undermining the nation. Today, it takes a lot of work to get the attention of such contributors; The indictments are one of the few events that rocked the establishment enough to dip into their pockets.

The last time Mr. Trump was impeached, in New York, his campaign said it raised more than $12 million in the week following the indictment – a major hit in the run-up to anemic fundraising before the indictment. here is yours. Since then, Mr. Trump’s fundraising has fallen back to disappointing levels, according to people briefed on the situation.

Less than an hour has passed since Mr. Trump learned of his indictment before his campaign sent out its first mass email to cash in on the feeling of being persecuted and becoming a common victim that the former president. The system has nurtured his supporters. Trump’s fundraising call began around 7:45 p.m. Thursday, “We’re watching our Republic DIE right in front of our eyes.”

Mr. Trump’s allies outside of his official campaign structure were also prepared to take advantage of the moment and push his political antibodies into effect.

Officials at the main pro-Trump super PAC, MAGA Inc., have provided allies with research on the opposition so they have arguments to attack. Jack Smith, the special counsel who brought the case against Mr. Trump, appeared on television and radio as well as on social media. The group even spread information about Mr. Smith’s wife to try to suggest that her donations to Democratic politicians created a conflict of interest for her husband.

Last week, as allies of the former president saw reports that Mr. Smith was most likely nearing the end of the investigation, strategists working with Mr. Trump’s super PAC began drafting a media ad. figure matches the proposed federal indictment.

Ads will be sent to lay national cable on Friday, according to a person with direct knowledge of the plan. The ad’s messages will relate to arguments circulating among some of Trump’s most fervent defenders on Capitol Hill. They will portray the indictment as a partisan plot from the Justice Department by President Biden.

These allies also plan to insinuate – without evidence – that the Justice Department timed the indictment to distract Republicans in the House. Biden investigation and his family business.

As Mr. Trump prepares for his impeachment Tuesday afternoon in federal court in Miami, some of his close allies are preparing a campaign to pressure his opponents in the presidential election. Republican presidents rallied around him.

Charlie Kirk, a young conservative activist close to Mr Trump, wrote on Twitter: “Every ‘Republican’ running for President should pause their campaign and come to Miami to show their support. donate.

“If you don’t,” Kirk added, “you are part of the problem. Either we have an opposition party or we don’t.”

Executives from several rival campaigns have privately admitted that they fear the indictment because it will take over the news cycle and deprive their candidates of attention in the media.

A senior adviser to one of Mr Trump’s opponents in the Republican primaries, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Republican voters largely believe any allegations Trump is a conspiracy by Democrats and they want to see all Republicans fight. to protect the former president.

This leaves most Republicans running for office in 2024 feeling as though the only way they can appease their voters is to go all out in defense of Mr. grandfather.

Mr. Trump’s team ran the same pressure campaign as the last time he was indicted, in New York — and it worked wonderfully.

In mid-March, the former president predicted that his arrest is imminentand his political activism and allies in the media began openly bullying Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida to run to Trump’s defense, which he eventually did.

This time, Mr. DeSantis attacked the prosecutors, but also did not defend Mr. Trump. Not promising a pardon for Mr. Trump, like another candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy, doDeSantis announced on Twitter, “The DeSantis Administration will hold the DOJ accountable, remove political bias and end weaponization once and for all.”

There were other, more eccentric parallels on Thursday night with Mr. Trump’s first indictment.

About 90 minutes after learning about his latest journey, Mr. Trump – who playing dice on his club ground at Mar-a-Lago after his trial in April – went to the main building in Bedminster for an al fresco dinner.

Wearing a red Make America Great Again hat, he is again acting as a DJ who, according to one person there, uses an iPad to play some of his favorite songs: Elvis, opera singer Pavarotti and idol his work on the performing arts, James Brown.


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